Cf. the OED, under BOOTS: "An instrument of torture formerly used in
Scotland to extort confessions from prisoners", a meaning they trace
back to 1513.
On Feb 7, 2007, at 10:28 AM, Hugh Davis wrote:
> I have a question for this learned group. In David Constantine's
> translation of Faust, Part I, Mephistopheles refers to "being
> fitted tightly in Scotch boots" (line 1913). The notes suggest
> Scotch or Spanish boots for the line, and that this is an
> instrument of torture. I know of Spanish boots from the
> Inquisition, but does anyone know the origin of the Scottish variety?
> Hugh Davis